NHL Rumors: Lightning Forward Could Miss Entire Round 3 & Beyond

Bad news for the Tampa Bay Lightning as they may be without one of their top playoff performers for longer than expected. Brayden Point could miss the entire third round against the New York Rangers where it looks like he is very needed after a 6-2 Game 1 loss.

Jon Cooper had a lot of notable things to say when asked about Point. Cooper said, "if he gets to play in this series, that's a bonus for everybody." Point skated for the first time with full equipment at half speed at the optional skate on Wednesday. He had previously been skating a bit without equipment.

Point has missed every game since his injury in Game 7 of Round 1 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Cooper also stated that Point is playing hockey again, but he is unsure when he will be able to play games. An interesting line Cooper said was that he doesn't know if Point will be playing hockey again this round, this season, or next season, which indicates there are still a lot of unknowns involved and it could take a lot longer for him to progress into game form.

"If we're fortunate enough to win this round, can he play the next one? We don't know that. Is he improving daily? He is. But it's way too soon to tell now if he's going to be able to play or not. But I think the worst of it is over for him now. It's probably the painstaking part when he'll be able to go, but I would temper any expectations of him coming back."

It looks like the Lightning will have to find a way through the Rangers and possibly further without their leading goal-scorer from each of the past two Stanley Cup runs and hope that his status becomes more clear very soon. The Rangers have the likely Vezina Trophy winner on their side, so the Lightning will need all the help they can to get the puck past him.

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